ontario news watch

Higgs’s attack on sex-education talk part of his political strategy, analysts say

Two education professors at the University of New Brunswick say the premier’s recent push against a sexual health presentation in high schools is at least partly motivated by political aims.

Casey Burkholder and Ken Brien say Premier Blaine Higgs is making hay of the issue ahead of a fall provincial election in which he is expected to make “parental rights” a key part of his platform.

Burkholder says she believes Higgs is trying to stoke a “culture war” to distract from more pressing issues, including health care and housing.

On May 24, Higgs shared on social media a slide from a sexual health presentation that included questions such as, “Do girls masturbate?” and “Is it good or bad to do anal?” and he wrote that the group behind it would be banned from future presentations.

The move came after his government instituted a policy last year requiring teachers to get parental consent to use students’ preferred names and pronouns if they are younger than 16.

Steve Outhouse, a spokesperson for Higgs, says the main issue is that parents were not given any notification about the presentation, nor an opportunity to weigh in on its content.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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